I've met many entrepreneurs in my time. Talented and passionate people. They often come to me to sound out their idea for a project or business they want to build.
I ask a simple question. What's your why?
Taken from the Simon Sinek book Start With Why, I find this is a fantastic lens that helps you reveal whether there's a bigger driving force at play or whether you're in it for the status and money. I believe the answer can change the odds of your success, drastically.
Let's take YouTube as an example. To some it has an appeal. One where you're creative, have a growing channel and seem confident and charismatic on camera.
It's desirable to create a channel about things that interest us, such as programming if you're developer, or design if you're a designer.
So the question still stands. Why?
Some entrepreneurs tend to focus on themselves when they try to answer this question. Usually it's in the form of:
- So I can make enough money to quit my job
- So I can build an audience
- So I can be creative
The thing about a why though, is that it's not about you.
Your why is not about you
Your why is a slightly unobtainable thing that you focus on, has deep and personal meaning to you and is of service to others.
If you're a designer and want to create a YouTube channel, then your why should be in helping designers do something—and that something must be something you really care about. Maybe it's helping new designers get their career off the ground because you know how painful that experience can be.
Maybe you're building a SaaS business, then your why needs to transform your end user. I'll dig into this one another time, but if you focus too much on being faster, cheaper or have a better UX than the competition—you're missing the point. Sure you might make a successful business, but without that why it's missing the opportunity to have impact.
What's my why?
I'm building a note-taking app called Flowtelic. I aim for this to be the best note-taking app out there. But my why has nothing to do with note-taking. Note-taking is just a tool to achieve the goal.
My goal is to inspire a generation of thinkers and doers. I want to arm the next generation with the skill of understanding and the mindset of positivity. I want these to be deployed back into society for a positive good. Why do I want this? I want to create a better future for those to come as a form of gratitude for the life and opportunity I have. I believe I have the skills to help, and at some point, it just feels right in my core.
My why is bigger than me. It is to serve people who I will never speak to. I do not need my name in the legacy I leave. It's not about me.
It just so happens that I love building a note-taking app that helps pave the way to make this happen.
What's your why?
Let's start a discussion. What's your idea what why do you want to do it?
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